United States v. Hall, No. 11-7102
Decided: January 9, 2012
The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the district court’s finding that the government had failed to prove by clear and convincing evidence that Hall is a sexually dangerous person under 18 U.S.C. § 4248. To obtain a commitment order against Hall, the government was required to establish that Hall has engaged or attempted to engage in child molestation in the past, currently suffers from a serious mental illness, abnormality or disorder, and as a result of the illness, abnormality or disorder, would have serious difficulty in refraining from child molestation if released. The first and second elements were not in dispute. Therefore, the appeal turned on whether the district court erred in finding that the government failed to prove, by clear and convincing evidence, that Hall, as a result of his disorders, would have serious difficulty in refraining from child molestation if released from custody. The Fourth Circuit held that the district court’s application of the statutory standards to the evidence was not erroneous, and its factual findings represent a permissible and reasonable interpretation of the evidence presented at the hearing. Therefore, the district court’s order dismissing the government’s commitment action was affirmed.
-Sara I. Salehi